Second chances: Psychology student pursues dream of helping children
Susan Pengra has always had a special place in her heart for vulnerable youth, and she spent the early part of her career working in group homes and juvenile detention facilities. Yet, like many parents, her career took a back seat after her children were born. However now that her children have left the nest, she’s decided it’s time to follow her career interest once again.
“I decided to go back to school and do what I’d always wanted to do,” Susan said. “I have always wanted to be a counselor for teenagers. When I was in high school, the church I attended had a family that fostered children. I saw the positive impact that family had, and I wanted to help kids who needed help, too.”
To gain more experience, Susan enrolled in City University of Seattle’s Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology program and is focusing her studies on children and youth.
“I had heard a lot of really good things from other people who’d gone through CityU’s programs; a lot of teachers used them to get degrees through weekend courses” Susan said. “Plus, I was able to do it all online, which helped me be able to work and do school on my schedule, rather than the other way around.”
Although she hadn’t taken online classes before, she found that they were a good fit for her.
“I like it a lot more than I thought I would; I like the independence of it,” Susan said. “I work all day and am more of a night owl. So I go home in the evenings when I’m wide awake and do my discussion boards and write my papers.”
In fact, she’s found that the online classes are a better fit than traditional ones.
“I’m more engaged in the courses than I would be if I were sitting in a classroom,” Susan said. “I like the camaraderie of seeing the same names in classes, it makes it kind of fun.”
Along with recognizing fellow students, Susan has gotten to know her professors as well.
“The professors always seem very willing to go that extra step to help or to answer questions,” Susan said. “Anna Cholewinska, [an associate professor and the applied psychology program director], has been awesome and very supportive in everything.”
Asked what she would tell someone interested in studying at CityU, Susan said:
“I’ve referred a few people to CityU, even one who works for me. I’d tell them that it’s a great place with people who really care and want to help. That if they don’t have exactly what the student is looking for, they can direct them with where they need to go.”
Learn more about City University of Seattle and the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology program online, or by requesting more information.